Ecuador still interested in Mercosur membership but lack of a national currency stands in the way, president says

Dec 7, 2012

Ecuador continues to study possible membership in the Mercosur customs union, but is not ready to fully adhere because of some economic policy restrictions, President Rafael Correa said Friday.

Speaking on his arrival at a summit of Mercosur leaders, the president said the country's lack of a national currency was a limiting factor in its ability to meet the bloc's trade policy requirements.

"We're very interested in Mercosur membership, but for a country without a national currency, trade policy is all that's available for us to adjust for possible balance of payments problems," he said.

Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.

Mr. Correa said that to comply with Mercosur's TEC common external tariff, Ecuador would have to raise import taxes on at least 4,000 products and cut taxes on another 2,000.

The president said that Ecuador held common ideological and trade positions with Mercosur members, but would need to continue to study the economic impact of Mercosur membership before fully joining the bloc.

Both Ecuador and Bolivia, observer members in the bloc, are under consideration for full membership in Mercosur.

At the opening of the event Friday, Brazilian president and summit host Dilma Rousseff welcomed the recent decision of Bolivian President Evo Morales to try to accelerate his country's membership in the bloc.

Credit: Nasdaq News Wire, www.nasdaq.com; photo caption: President Rafael Correa

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